A Few Jewish Responses to Terrorism

jewsIn the past months France has lost a significant percentage of its Jewish population and, in my opinion, deserves to lose all of it.
Not everyone agrees, of course.While Paris reels from this most recent Islamic terrorist attack, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), claimed that calls for mass immigration to Israel are


“not the solution for anti-Semitic terror.”

Margolin said:

The Israeli government must increase security for the European Jewish community, rather than just repeat Pavlovian calls for aliya after every terror attack.

So, in the face of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and increasing levels of racial violence against Jews by Jihadis the director of the European Jewish Association thinks that Jews in Europe should stay put and that Israel must somehow protect that community?

What is he thinking?  Would he have suggested that the Jews remain in Germany after Kristallnacht?  Does he honestly expect Israel to send commando squads into Paris for the purpose of protecting Jews from Jihadi thugs?   I understand, of course, that Rabbi Margolin, as the director of the EJA, has a vested interest in seeing Jews remain in Europe.  It is difficult, after all, to direct an association of European Jews when those Jews have left for the United States or Israel.

But, still, to suggest that Jews remain in Europe like the sitting ducks that they are is very foolish, if not absolutely dangerous.  I much prefer the response of my fellow blogger, Paula R. Stern, over at the Times of Israel who in a piece entitled Get the Hell Out NOW writes the following:

The clouds of death were gathering over Europe in 1939, but it was easy to deny them…almost impossible to convince the heart of what the brain was fearing. The clouds will pass, don’t they always? The ashes, the gas, the marches, the ghettos, those days are gone…

But they aren’t – they will never be gone and you are truly a fool if you think otherwise. In the dawn today that follows the nightmare of last week, which follows many other nightmares – the beating of a rabbi, the murder of a father and children, endless other attacks…the time has come.


Not everyone feel the kind of urgency that Stern does, however.

For example, the TOI’s Marissa Newman tells us that due to the recent bloodshed, Parisian-born conductor Frédéric Chaslin:

had asked to say a few words and play the Israeli national anthem in honor of the 17 people killed in Paris last week — in the kosher supermarket siege and shootout at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, and a policewoman killed separately — but was told the move would upset the audience. He subsequently left the theater, and an understudy conducted the performance.

“It was refused to me,” Chaslin wrote on Facebook regarding his request. “‘It would upset our audience,’ ‘it is against the management’s policies.’ What management? What policy? Where am I? In a country supposed to be the sanctuary for all Jewish people in the world? Has the ‘audience’ of this country lost their souls?

So, Chaslin wanted to conduct “Hatikvah” at the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv in honor of the dead and he was turned down?

The Israeli Opera did leave a statement, however:

For the 30 years that the opera has been in operation, it has insisted on maintaining its routine even on the painful days of dozens of terror attacks and during wars. This is the way of the opera — not to allow terror to win and disturb the routine of our lives.

In other words, if they break routine by playing “Hatikvah” in the memory of the dead… the terrorists win!

There is something inappropriately blasé about the responses of both Rabbi Margolin and the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv.  I do not know that the best response to terrorism is to run around, waving one’s arms, while screaming to the heavens, but to suggest – given the history of the Jewish people in Europe – that Jews should remain even as they are killed by Jihadis is flat-out stupid.

Furthermore, for the Israeli Opera to refuse to play “Hatikvah” because that would upset their routine reveals a sort-of moral emptiness usually not associated with the arts… although one cannot help but think of the recent ethical vacuity of the Metropolitan Opera.

Originally posted at Israel Thrives blogspot.

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  1. Leon Poddebsky

    “Moral emptiness not usually associated with the arts”?
    Remember that oh so sensitive Jewish musician, daniel barenboim, whose profound humanity and nobility of spirit moved him to force down the throats of Shoah survivors and other Jews the oh so sensitive creations of that oh so sensitive German composer, Hitler’s favourite, Wagner?

    • Hi Leon,

      you are correct.

      There is, in fact, no honest reason for anyone to think that artists are more morally sensitive than other people.

      Like so many others, I was raised to think so, but on even a little historical reflection it is clear that there is no honest reason to think so.

      I have to say, tho, the whole point of these blogs and these on-line conversations is, to my mind, not so much to forward a point of view – not so much about advocacy – as to help rethink previous assumptions.

      Peace to you, please, my friend.